On Monday the 20th, the owners of Thirty3 Sixty3 Steakhouse in Throggs Neck pulled off a long anticipated and very successful contest that brought in a dozen participants and over a 100 spectators to create a new post-holiday tradition. Billed as the "Coquito Kings" contest, the restaurant joined forces with both "TastyLadies NY" blogger Bailey Provetto and Bronx On The Go to market and judge the event. Originally meant to coincide with the Three Kings holiday, the event was pulled off despite being postponed once due to the weather and calls from an outside group that wanted to shut it down because it allegedly competed with theirs.
With twelve contestants mostly from the Bronx and one from Brooklyn, contestants brought out their best family and homemade recipes while spectators lined up to enjoy the free samples. Many of the participants had not even heard of coquito, a traditional Puerto Rican rum and coconut based drink, until the event, but that certainly didn't stop them from enjoying it. Spectators were wowed by the deceptively sweet options presented, from traditional creamy varieties to unique blends that included chocolate or cayenne pepper, along with several traditional Spanish dishes served buffet style. The event included special guest Marcos "El Flanadero" Sierra, who provided his own coquito-flavored flan (custard).
Decided by popular vote, owners Johnny and Jackie Acevedo-Villanueva, local Bronx personality Ms. Bharati Kemraj, and TastyLadies NY's Baley Provetto, crowned first place winners were Bronxites "Benito and Jayson" for their coquito. When asked about their recipe, they stated they, "have been making their grandmas and great grandmas recipe for over 10 years, and started it one Christmas when money was tight and decided to make them as gifts, thus a tradition started and we all appreciated this tradition tonight!" Crowned in second place as the Coquito Queen was another Bronxite Ms. BiGi Ramos, who has participated in other coquito contests locally for several years.
TastyLadies NY, who was a very vibrant host, has created a video montage of the event, which can be viewed here. Original photography for the event can be viewed at Miriam Quin's Facebook page. Additional pictures by a variety of other photographers, including the Bronx Chronicle's Nilka Martell, can be viewed on the Bronx On The Go Facebook Page.